This month’s In House article features CMRRA’s Counterclaims Administrator, Dennis Amos! Dennis shared with us details about the counterclaims process, what inspired him to pursue a career in the music industry, and his proudest accomplishments.
What does your day-to-day look like as a Counterclaims Administrator at CMRRA? What’s the process of resolving a counterclaim?
As a Counterclaims Administrator, my day-to-day tends to be fairly fluid. A lot of what I do focuses on maintaining works that have entered the Counterclaims ecosystem – potential disputes and titles that are already in dispute. I spend a healthy portion of my day corresponding with music publishers as well as CMRRA staff. This correspondence often facilitates the resolution of disputes, so it’s important to stay on top of it. Reviewing and researching conflicts is a big part of my day-to-day as well, and I really enjoy that because some of the titles I look at have fascinating histories. I approach each dispute as a puzzle that I get to deconstruct and try to put back together.
To resolve a counterclaim situation, CMRRA needs to receive a claim amendment from one (or more) of the parties involved in the dispute. We typically receive amendments from clients via email or in their CWR (Common Works Registration) submissions and once we get new information that can resolve the dispute, we’re able to go ahead with updates to our database to resolve the conflict.
Do you think 5-10 years from now, Counterclaims processes will evolve or change? If so, how?
We’re always looking for ways to improve Counterclaims processes, and the conversations I’ve had with my supervisors indicate that as an organization we are focusing on opportunities to refine and enhance how we do things. This could include web portal and systems development that would be benefit not only our publisher clients, but also allow us to streamline our internal workflow processes even more.
What made you want to pursue a career in the music industry?
I grew up in a very small New Brunswick University town of about 5,000 people. The university [Mount Allison University] had a campus / community radio station and when I was still in high school, I began volunteering there. I hosted a weekly radio show, worked in the music department and produced advertisements for on-air broadcast. It was an incredibly formative few years volunteering and it fostered some great, lifelong friendships and a desire to pursue a career working in music. After my time at the radio station, I moved to Toronto with the idea of working in the music industry and finding like-minded people to play music with.
What’s something you’ve accomplished in your career that you’re proud of?
Music administration can be a murky, unknown grey area for a lot of artists and musicians, and being able to answer questions and share information on how they can get paid is really the most satisfying feeling and is something I’m proud of.
On a personal level, when I was a very young and playing drums in my parents’ basement, it was a big goal of mine to make and release music and to tour in support of that music. I toured with bands like The Gossip, Chromatics and Wolf Parade, and it was a huge thrill to achieve my goals. I’m proud of the records I got to be a part of and the tours I went on. (Look mom, I did it! Sorry about the noise!)
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